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Two Million Guaranteed For Tipperary Flood Relief Schemes

Independent TD Mr Michael Lowry has today stated that he is delighted to confirm that both Nenagh and Golden in Co. Tipperary, are to be included in the Governments new Flood Management plan; each to be viewed as an individual priority scheme.

The flood relief schemes for both areas have now been sanctioned by Mr. Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (O.P.W ) and Flood Relief.  Same schemes are scheduled to progress with sufficient funding guaranteed to completed all the necessary works.  Flood Relief Schemes for these areas are estimated to cost €2 million, which is now guaranteed by the O.P.W.

The O.P.W in conjunction with Tipperary Co. Council Engineers, will further examine all available options and solutions before implementing agreed appropriate engineering strategy to avert future flooding events in both these areas.

“While the total costs cannot be determined until a specific design is sanctioned; the estimated combined cost of both schemes of €2 Million is wholly and absolutely guaranteed”, stated Deputy Lowry.

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State Of Thurles – Thursday April 26th, 2018

Thursday April 26th, 2018 – Picture A shows potholes deemed suitable for filling this week. Picture B shows neglected potholes deemed unsuitable for filling due to cutbacks in rural Ireland.

Thurles, like a lot of midland rural towns, has had its heart ripped out by the recent recession. Its inhabitants have watched helpless as their young people were forced to travel abroad and yes failed by those whom they elected to rule over us.

Today, Thursday April 26th, 2018, €22m of European support was announced for a Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking between the European Union and the private sector. The project is to be based at a new bio-economy campus in Lisheen, Co. Tipperary, converting AgriChem Whey dairy by-product, know as ‘whey permeate’, into lactic acid. This product can be used in industry as a biodegradable plastic; bio-based fertiliser and minerals, according to the project’s promoters.

Politicians and County Councillors lined up for radio interviews this morning, all seeking credit; all not contradicting themselves, but none of them able to confirm a start date. [No doubt an official opening will be organised just before the next election].  Some of them thought it was a €21 million fund; others spoke of €30 million; some spoke of massive job creation for locals; others agreed that those holding bio-economy science degrees in Tipperary were scarce on the ground, suggesting outside job creation to be most likely. None were asked to explain bio-economy.

Meanwhile back in Thurles on Thursday April 26th, 2018, Council staff carry out their boring Thursday routine, filling the potholes in the town. This week they continue to make saving to our local town exchequer, by filling only potholes of a certain depth with poor quality cold tarmac. Next Thursday they will fill the holes again, and the following Thursday, and the following Thursday and so it goes; “like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel”.

This is the joke folks:  We are being asked to believe that these elected representatives, from all political groupings, attracted €22 million of European financial support, while at the same time unable to properly regulate / control / administrate / govern, the filling of one simple pothole.

The EU must be a right ‘soft touch’.

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Deputy Lowry TD Welcomes News On Lisheen Site.

Independent Deputy Michael Lowry has confirmed that EU Commissioner Phil Hogan will today formally announce the sanction and funding for a revolutionary bio-economy research project, led by Glanbia Ireland.

This exciting development will be based at the former Lisheen Mine site which has been designated as a green energy hub.

This project has huge prospects for full time employment and it is conservatively estimated that it has the potential to create 300 permanent jobs. The initial site preparation and construction phase of the development will employ both directly and indirectly; up to 160 people.

The project will involve the development of a new bio-refinery and will use technology which has been developed by Glanbia Ireland.

When completed the bio-refinery will help in tackling the current environmental crisis created by waste plastic across the country and the world.

Deputy Lowry stated, “I am pleased to have made my contribution to ensure that this key development would be located at the former Lisheen Mine site, and I compliment all the agencies involved in the partnership which will deliver this significant bio-refinery project.
I wish to thank Commissioner Phil Hogan and Minister Heather Humphreys for their support, cooperation and assistance throughout this complex and lengthy process”
.

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Work To Begin Again On Barry’s Bridge – Whenever

The word on every person’s lips here in Thurles today is ‘JEEP’ – which as you know stands for ‘Jump Excitedly into Every Pothole’.

Around the year 1650, McRickard Butler’s workforce knew how to build a bridge. Using construction materials consisting of a combination of rubble and dressed limestone, and with their skilled hands they chiselled large lumps of limestone rock creating triangular cut-water pillars to meet the southward flowing water of the river Suir. On top of these same cut-water pillars, they formed seven round arches with dressed voussoirs, (latter wedge-shaped or tapered stones used to construct the arches), visible from both north and south elevations.

Barry’s Bridge Thurles begins to unravel after 4 days.

This limestone road bridge served us well, until around 1820, when it was reconstructed. In more recent years it was widened, its old stone walls replaced by footpaths and steel railings; its road resurfaced by concrete.

Today, 2018, despite major strides in education and communication the knowledge on how to fill a pothole has been lost. On Friday, March 30th last after three weeks of tolerating single lane, “Stop & Go” twenty-minute, traffic management delays, Barry’s bridge was reopened, having been resurfaced.

One hopes no cheques have changed hands, as yesterday, just 4 days later, already this new surface has begun to unravel. Someone in Tipperary Co. Council’s engineering department remains convinced that it is possible to glue tarmac to a sloping road surface and then run heavily laden 12-wheeler trucks over it.

You can only get from people what they are willing or able to give was always the definition of the quote, “You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.”  But it appears that when it comes to the ratepayers and taxpayers of Thurles Town; yes, we turnips do actually produce blood and can be continuously squeezed.

Meanwhile, here in Ireland, there are still several streets in existence with no pot holes. These streets are now some 60 years old. Back then they used a miracle product for such surfaces. It was considered environmentally friendly; could be recycled, and contained no expensive petroleum. The miracle product was called cement.

Here in Thurles again today, the Council truck did its daily sweep of the town, filling an occasional water laden hole with cold tarmac, which will be reduced to gravel within 48 hours.

There is still no confirmation on the promised Thurles Bypass, initially pledged some 16 year ago.

There were just 6 votes separating Mary Newman and Garrett Ahearn at the recent Fine Gael selection convention here in Thurles, and it’s now thought that the Cashel woman may be added to the ticket for the next general election in October. One wonders will “The Bypass” arrive before then.

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Könnten Wir Bitte Ihre Leere Plastikflaschen Und Dosen Haben?

Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The city is regarded as the cultural centre of the Westphalia Region and renowned as the bicycle capital of Germany. Recently a friend of mine visited that lovely city and returned with the following true story.

Leading a group of some 20 other persons in Münster; my friend became aware that they were being followed, from a distance, by two elderly and possibly homeless persons. My friends group paused for a while at a nearby recognised picnic site, to consume some snacks and drinks, before being approached by these gentlemen, who inquired formally in German, “Könnten wir bitte ihre leere Plastikflaschen und Dosen haben?”  One of the company who spoke the German language translated; “Please can we have your empty plastic bottles and cans”?

My friend explained that in Münster as indeed in Germany, a deposit refund system was in place, to repel the growing plastic waste crisis. Every drink can and plastic bottle collected, when returned to vendors, is rewarded by a payment of 15 cents each, which had been previously charged when the product was initially purchased. These two men would redeem €3.00, if 20 plastic or metal drink containers were returned to vendors.

The returned containers are then reused or recycled. This system of recycling has proven to be extremely effective in the recovering of up to 98% of all such containers.

Drink containers are the convenience packaging for products used for outdoor recreation.

Here in Ireland our metal cans and plastic drink containers are to be found dumped in every nook and cranny. “Tidy Towns” judges, together with the “Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL)”, regularly highlight the issue within towns and villages, but rural country areas remain ignored with same items dropped to roll around on our streets; to be thrown into our gardens and unto our road sides by passers-by and motorists; while also being dumped into our rivers and onto the 7,000km of our golden beaches, to become the flotsam and jetsam of “God knows where,” depending on the currents and Tides.

The “Repak Model” of recycling is seen as being adequate by a short sighted Irish Department of the Environment. However, while it may be profitable for Repak; do take a look around our streets and you will see Ireland operates a “one use and then litter” model, with immediate change now fundamentally crucial. It would appear that our appointed legislators are possibly under pressure, from waste collection business operators, latter who only manage to recycle about 39% of our cans and plastic bottles (given to them for free), leaving 61% (43,000 tonnes) to decorate our green landscape.

But imagine the difference it would make to our unspoiled coastal regions; our rural countryside, our villages, towns and cities, if a deposit refund system were to be put in place, in a state that is growing more and more dependent on regular foreign Tourism.

The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark have operated successful ‘deposit refund systems’ for years. The UK have just announced they are about to introduce a similar deposit refund scheme, while Ireland continues to drown in its own litter, dependent on individuals to come out, voluntarily, to pick up and clean up after those who dump their unwanted garbage.

God be with the late 50’s, when my friends and I would rush down to the village with our empty ‘Taylor Keith’ cochineal reddened, fizzy, lemonade bottles and with the refund, buy a few Peggy’s Legs or a few strawberry flavoured Bubble Gum Balls, [latter banned in my house because same were seen to be ‘dirty’ and ‘unmannerly’, according to my grandmother, especially “in front of other respectable visiting adults.”].

Here in Ireland we will probably have to wait until the EU make ‘deposit refund systems’ compulsory, and the sooner the better. Understandably reverse vending machines operating a deposit-and-return drinks container regime, is not as popular with our elected County Councillors, as are Parking Metres in our town centres.

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